Henri Rousseau. The Sleeping Gypsy. 1897

Henri Rousseau The Sleeping Gypsy 1897

The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Rousseau, a toll collector for the city of Paris, was largely a self-taught painter, although he had ambitions of entering the Academy. This was never realized, but the sharp colors, fantastic imagery, and precise outlines in his work—derived from the style and subject matter of popular print culture—struck a chord with a younger generation of avant-garde painters. Rousseau described the subject of The Sleeping Gypsy thus: "A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase with drinking water), overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic."

Gallery label from 2012
Oil on canvas
51" x 6' 7" (129.5 x 200.7 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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